Poetry Parnassus is a project of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, hosted at the Southbank Centre in London. It ran from June 26 to July 1, and featured 145 poets from around the world. Here is the Guardian’s interactive map, where you can click on a country and read its poem. I will be posting one a day until they’re done.
Since Scotland inexplicably has no official presence either in the Olympics or the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, I must remedy the deficiency with this spirited poem.
Satori in Fauldhouse, by Colin Will (Scotland)
The great sage came to the vile West
and asked, ‘Who is your wisest man?’
‘That would be Big Shuggie,’ said the villagers.
‘Go then, and fetch Big Shuggie,
that we may engage in discourse
on the nature of Buddhahood.’
But the people returned, saying,
‘Big Shuggie is on the bevvie
and will not come.’
‘Go again, and tell him I desire to know
the sound of one hand clapping.’
The emissaries returned in sorrow, reporting,
‘Big Shuggie says he’ll clap yer lug in a meenit.
He’s on a roll at the dominoes,
Ma Johnson’s 80-shillin’ is going down a treat,
an’ he’s just had a nod for later
from wee Senga, whose man
has neutered himself
with much lager. Bugger Buddha! he says.’
So spoke the spokesperson, apologetically,
for such was his role.
‘Truly, Big Shuggie is wise in the ways of Zen,’
said the sage,
‘I will return to the mystic East,
for I can learn him nothin’.’
Big Shuggie looms larger than life despite his absence from the poem. The great sage has met his Zen master. Therefore listen to one hand clapping in the void behind words and say nothing of it. Thus have I heard.